In a naming ceremony on Thursday, Riviera Beach in Palm County, Florida renamed its Old Dixie Highway after the country’s 44th President, Barack Obama, in an effort to move past the town’s racist history.
It’s the second road in the county to be named after Obama, with East First Street being renamed Barack Obama Boulevard in 2013. The onlooking crowd cheered as the Old Dixie sign was lowered and the new sign bearing the President’s name was raised.
The City Council voted in August to change the highway’s name inside the city limits. City officials said at that August meeting that the “Old Dixie” name was not a good representation of the city.
The first intersection of roads named after Obama and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. will be in Riviera Beach.
Riviera Beach resident Kendra Williams said that it’s simply time for a much needed change.
“The name Old Dixie does not align in any way with the goal of racial and social equality. Let’s just move forward and move on, because it’s time.”